July 28, 2013 World Hepatitis Day
July 28th of 2013 will mark the 6th annual observance of World Hepatitis Day co-sponsored by the World Health Organization and the World Hepatitis Alliance. For anyone who is unfamiliar about Hepatitis check out the World Hepatitis Alliance Website. Hepatitis simply means an inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis B and C are 2 of the viruses that can cause inflammation and eventually cirrhosis of the liver. Cirrhosis of the liver is commonly thought of as something linked with alcoholism; however these viruses can lead to heavy internal bleeding, liver cancer, coma, liver failure and death. And they have nothing to do with alcoholism. Hepatitis B and C kills approximately one million people a year and it is estimated that nearly 500 million people are currently infected with the virus.
Anyone in the healthcare industry is greatly aware of the dangerous risk of Hepatitis C (HCV) as there is no vaccine for HCV as there is for Hepatitis B (HBV). Many healthcare workers have a higher risk of exposure due to exposure to blood products and accidental needle sticks. As home care workers, a caregiver is fortunate to be in a much more controlled environment and very little possibility of exposure. Georgia, like many states, controls through regulation what skills a Certified Nurse Assistant is allowed to perform when working in a homecare setting. These regulations prevent home care workers from coming into contact with sharp instruments and any type of wound care.
At SYNERGY HomeCare, we require our home health aides to practice good hand washing techniques and to wear protective latex or nitrile gloves while practicing Standard Precautions as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control with every person in our care.